How Spirituality Can Shape Our Self-Esteem

Some children aren't spiritually inclined, but many are. Is this because their tender, innocent awe for all things alive and imagined hasn't yet been trounced by trauma, teasing and/or adult logic? Is it because angels, deities and saints are magical beings on par with elves, fairies, imaginary friends and Queen Elsa of Arendelle? Is it because their memories of past lives still feel fresh? Is it because it is the nature of the young, for better or worse, simply to believe?

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Talk Therapy is Strong Medicine

I’d just finished a family session one October morning when my emergency line rang. The faint voice of one of my long-term patients croaked, “Dr. Deitz. Please. I need help.”

It was Lauren, a 43-year old woman I had been treating for years with medication and psychotherapy. Stable for several years, she and I met monthly to monitor her medication and discuss her marriage and children. She rarely called between sessions.

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Psychology Around the Net: July 11, 2015

Catch up on the latest information about teens and antipsychotic medications, the possible therapeutic benefits of marijuana, how well certain "happiness" apps work, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Most Antipsychotic Drugs Prescribed to Teens Without Mental Health Diagnosis, Study Says: According to this study, prescribing antipsychotic medications to teens without a mental health diagnosis is on the rise.

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Why Kids Shouldn’t Be Incarcerated for Giving Dad the Silent Treatment

My husband's parents divorced when he was in middle school. When I asked how they shared custody of him and his younger sister, he said, "We got to choose who we wanted to live with." I marveled at that statement. I wasn't allowed to make any decisions under my father's roof. Come to think of it, neither was my mother. I can tell you right away who we would have chosen to live with.

I wasn't asked where I wanted to vacation or what movie I wanted to see. I wasn't allowed to be repulsed when my parents smooched -- because it made my father feel judged. I wasn't allowed to give the silent treatment or to sulk after being beaten. I wasn't allowed to be angry, loud, energetic, silly or moody. I had no right to anything. I lived under a narcissist's roof.

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Children and Teens

5 Crucial Things Parents Tend to Forget

Being a parent is hard. It’s the most difficult setting on the most difficult game you have ever played. The only way to succeed is to get in there, get your hands dirty, and be willing to learn.

You go and go and go until you feel like you cannot go anymore (and then you go more anyway). You go and go so much that your children are probably to blame for your caffeine dependence and your excruciating headache. In the midst of all this chaos there are principles that can make our lives a whole lot easier.

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Children and Teens

8 Insightful Quotes about Life from ‘Wish I Was Here’

The 2014 Kickstarter-inspired release, "Wish I Was Here," starring Zach Braff and Kate Hudson, features a multifaceted narrative for middle adulthood. Braff’s character, Aidan Bloom, is a husband and father who faces obstacles regarding career choice, parenting, faith and impending loss. As the natural progression of life runs its course, new (and rather challenging and emotionally painful) experiences manifest.

Here are eight insightful quotes from this poignant film:
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How to Survive When Your Child Has a Mental Illness

There are times when surviving is all a parent feels like they are doing. From broken bones to broken hearts, we survive one crisis after another. Parenting can be difficult enough if your child is healthy, but if they have a mental illness it can be life-altering.

My son was 11 years old when he told me that life was not worth living. That statement started our family on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs for over 10 years. My son’s illness brought pain and heartache into our lives, but it also brought an awareness of gratitude. How I responded to his needs defined our relationship for the future.

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The Harsh Reality of Raising a Teen Addict

I can never protect him from the real threat -- the threat of an addictive brain.

After more than 24 hours of labor, I'm exhausted and barely awake; yet, I recognize the baby screaming from the nursery as my own. I'm a mom. The nurses bring him to me to soothe him. He continues to scream as I try to latch him to my breast.

"You've got a fighter there," the nurses tell me.

And at barely a day old, the fight begins.

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Children and Teens

10 Tips for Supporting Children Through a Spouse’s Mental Illness

A parent's mental illness can leave a child feeling scared and unstable.

Dad's mood changes. The whole household feels the effects. Everyone quickly switches gears, puts on their best behavior, and attempts not to cause any waves. Mom tries to put on a happy face and hopes that the kids don't notice. Nobody mentions this change in mood, but the tension in the household is obvious.

Everyone quietly distances himself and waits for the storm to pass. The adults understand what is happening, but the kids are left to draw their own conclusions. They begin to wonder why mom and dad are acting differently. Why is dad so sad, or so angry? Why won't he play outside like he used to?
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Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety, Depression and College Students

A recent survey has determined that anxiety is the most common mental health problem in college students. Depression and stress rank second and third. Anxiety and depression are really just different sides of the same coin. They are both the result of chronic stress that overwhelms your capacity to cope with them. Both can affect your functioning, especially your studies and your relationships.

Some blame "helicopter parents" for college students' mental health problems. These parents hovered over their children, not allowing them to feel their emotions and not allowing them to solve their own problems. These parents handled their children’s problems for them. But the children did not learn emotional regulation and coping skills. When they go off to college, they are emotional novices. They are unable to deal with the stress of independent living and studying for their chosen careers.

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Psychology Around the Net: June 27, 2015

Learn about how mental illness affects teens later in life, how one Orange Is The New Black storyline can teach you about depression, antidepressants and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Mentally Ill Teens Struggle With School and Work as Adults: Recent research analysis shows teens who struggle with chronic health issues -- particularly mental health issues -- are more than twice as likely to drop out...
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